Brand: Appleton Estate
Origin: Appleton Estate, Vauxhall, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
Still: Pot & Column Blend
Once again we visit a budget, cocktail-ready rum from a well-regarded distillery. Appleton Estate Signature Blend is the flagship rum from the St. Elizabeth parish-based distillery, and is one of the most popular and readily available rums on the global market today.
Appleton Estate was established in the mid-17th century by Frances Dickinson, whose grandchildren built the eponymous distillery in 1749. Since then, the estate was sold and bought a number of times, before landing in the hands of Wray & Nephew (a rum blending business before being known for their overproof rum) in 1916. In 2012, J. Wray & Nephew Ltd. was purchased by the Campari Group, the current holders of J. Wray & Nephew and their portfolio, including Appleton Estate.
Likely the most prolific rum in the Appleton lineup is Appleton Estate Signature Blend; this expression is the flagship of the Estate, and likely available in most bars that have a halfway-decent selection. Appleton Signature is a blend of rums with an average age of 4 years, and is a blend of pot and column rums, which is fairly unique among Jamaican rums (which mostly feature pot still distillate). The rum is distilled and matured on the estate, and finally bottled at 40% ABV.
Orange-gold, high clarity, medium viscosity
Molasses, vanilla frosting, pears, baked bananas
Molasses, bananas, peach, pear, vanilla, brown sugar
Medium length, mild; oak, light fruity funk
If you're looking for a super funky expression of Jamaican rum, you're not going to find it with Appleton Estate Signature (but I think most of us knew that already). It does sport a light amount of fruity funk and a tinge of oak influence, but not much else makes it past the low proof of this expression.
In my glass, Appleton Signature is an orange-gold color, with high clarity and medium viscosity.
On the nose, I get notes of molasses, vanilla frosting, pears, and baked bananas. Not a ton going on in the nose, which I've come to expect in 80 proof rums. It's pleasant, but not challenging, and uncomplex.
The palate offers notes of molasses, bananas, peach, pears, vanilla, and brown sugar. Again, not the most complex palate, but it has enough fruit funk to remind you of the origin of this rum. While straightforward, it is really enjoyable as a sipper, and will also mix into a cocktail very well.
The finish is a medium length and mild. Oak and a light fruity funk are the only notes I get. Predictable for an 80 proof rum, and thankfully fairly balanced and not unrefined, as some lower proof rums' finishes can be.
I would say Appleton Estate Signature should be a staple rum of any bar, professional or personal. The funk is light enough as to not dissuade the uninitiated from rum altogether, while also reminding seasoned rum afficionados that a dram does not have to knock your socks off to be enjoyable.